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Thursday Art

Capturing a moment in time. --  By Pat Bean

Capturing a moment in time. — By Pat Bean

“I cannot keep the look of youth, but how October maples flame. Age takes our beauty, gives us truth. Age takes our wits, and makes us wise. Age gives us life’s October skies, and old October’s mellower days, a better time a thousand ways.” – Douglas Malloch

Bean Pat: Canoe Communications http://tinyurl.com/m2zdmpk  It’s seems only fair that I promote this excellent blog, seeing as how I stole the quote his blog this morning because I loved it so much.

Mornings

            “It is in the early morning hour that the unseen is seen, and that the far-off beauty and glory, vanquishing all their vagueness, move down upon us till they stand clear as crystal close over against the soul.” ~Sarah Smiley

I find mornings magical, a gift to me from Mother Nature. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I find mornings magical, a gift to me from Mother Nature. — Photo by Pat Bean

The Peaceful Time

I filled my nectar feeder this morning for the first time in weeks, having stopped the ritual because of summer bee season here at my apartment complex.

Verdins feed more at my nectar feeder than hummingbirds. I love watching them. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Verdins feed more at my nectar feeder than hummingbirds. I love watching them. — Photo by Pat Bean

As I sat in my living room chair, staring out at it through the open balcony door, a black-chinned hummingbird, perhaps the same one that has been regularly checking the empty feeder, stopped by for breakfast. It was soon joined by a verdin, a tiny bird that is as common as hummingbirds at my feeder.

While hummingbirds usually chase off their own species wanting to feed at the same time, these two peacefully shared the wealth. I wondered why I had taken so long to start filling the feeder again.

And then I drank in my favorite time of day. Too often it’s the only time of day my chaotic brain ceases to race through life. The desert morning was cool and still, making me feel as if I were the only human up and moving around at this moment  in time – just seconds before the sun would bring reality to a world full of good and evil, and beauty and ugliness. The air was tinged with magic, and my soul filled with peace as I gratefully accepted Mother Nature’s gift.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: The rest of the story http://tinyurl.com/lkx3jz9  I guess Ruth never heard about Paul Harvey. By the way, I’m laughing with this blogger because I’ve been in her position. Sometimes what we think is interesting, readers find less so.

Woman of the Mountain http://tinyurl.com/kpuqh4w A  Blue Ridge Parkway hero.  

            .

A Splash from the Past

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was 43 years old when I experienced my first white water adventure. Within the next week, I had bought my own raft, and for the next 20 years running rapids was my passion. The river taught me much about myself.

I was 43 years old when I experienced my first white water adventure. Within the next week, I had bought my own raft, and for the next 20 years running rapids was my passion. The river taught me much about myself.

A Long Swim

Being a writer and journal keeper, the artifacts of my life are found in words, like those that popped up yesterday when I was going through a box of photographs. Among the pictures was a faded proof of a story I wrote as a personal newspaper column back in 1988.

Who knows what is going to pop up when you're going through artifacts of your life? == Photo by Pat Bean

Who knows what is going to pop up when you’re going through artifacts of your life? == Photo by Pat Bean

While the story is about an incident that will forever be hazily embedded in my brain, the words I had written, when the details were fresh and new, brought back the memory in vivid, living color. I just love being a writer.

Here’s what I wrote over a quarter of a century ago – with a bit of judicious editing because I’m a better writer, if not a better rafter, these days.

            PIECE-OF-CAKE RAPID, SALMON, RIVER, IDAHO – I knew before it happened that it was going to happen. I was going swimming. Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy swimming. But I didn’t have the slightest yen to take a dip in a fast-flowing, bubbling, chilly rapid.

            The last piece of advice given me by White Otter River guide, Randy Hess, as I stepped for the very first time into a one-person, inflatable kayak, was “Just keep it straight. These babies are steady and designed so they slice nicely through the water.”

            Somehow he forgot to say: “But don’t let the kayak get turned broadside to the rapid or it will flip.”

            Actually I already knew that. I had even been down this stretch of the Salmon River before, only in a large paddle raft with six people to keep the rubber boat pointed downstream.          

An eagle on shore spotted during one of my annual floats down the Snake River below Jackson Wyoming. -- Photo by Pat Bean

An eagle on shore spotted during one of my annual floats down the Snake River below Jackson Wyoming. — Photo by Pat Bean

   Today, however, I quickly realized that I didn’t have the hang of maneuvering my wobbly (Randy lied. It wasn’t steady) craft, or the skill to easily use the two-bladed paddle, which was also a first for me.

            I might have had a chance to overcome the learning curve if the first rapid, Piece-of-Cake, named I’m sure by some maniacal jokester, hadn’t been within sight of the launch point.

            “Stay to the left,” I heard Randy, who was nearby in his hard-body kayak, yell at me.

            I was able do that, but I didn’t have enough control to swing the raft around to meet the oncoming second wave – and so I flipped.

            “Sh-ee-it!” I uttered as I flew out of the boat just a couple of minutes after getting into it. As the water drowned my exclamation, I told myself to just go with the flow, and almost immediately I bounced off the river bottom and back up to where the air was less thick to breathe – until a mean wave reburied me beneath the water again.

            But finally I managed to get my life-jacketed, and thankfully wet-suited body above the waves, and then quickly pointed my feet downstream, so they, and not my head, would hit any rock obstacle in the way. This wasn’t my first time being dumped in fast-flowing water.

            The current, however, stramded me in a patch of tricky backwash.  Sh-ee-it! I managed to get my favorite “I’m-gonna-die” word out this time before another kayaker came up beside me.

            “Grab on,” she said. I didn’t have to be asked twice. But with my weight hanging on to her hard-shelled kayak, she couldn’t escape the backwash, and although my kayak was just on the other side of her, I couldn’t get to it.

            Finally the expert, Randy, comes in to save the day, maneuvering his kayak so I can grab hold of it. I breathe a sigh of relief, figuring I’m now in capable hands.   

            The feeling was short-lived. In a rare, slow-motion moment, Randy’s kayak flips When I realize I still have hold of the boat, and am hindering Randy’s attempts to roll up, I let go. The rapid immediately takes me to the middle of the river, shoving more water down my throat until the waves subsist and I’m floating in calm water. Exhausted now, I wait to be rescued.

            I ride in the group’s raft with the lunch supplies for a while, but then get back in that dang inflatable kayak and spend the rest of the day without mishap.

            The kayakers later congratulate me for dumping Randy, a “pretty sight” they say they had never seen before. An abashed Randy then gives me “The Salmon River Swimming Championship Award,”

            “I think the river,” he said, “was a bit high today.” And then he grins.  –30

A few years later, when the water wasn’t quite so high, I got back in another dang inflatable kayak and with a granddaughter by my side in a second inflatable kayak, stayed in the boat through Piece-of-Cake Rapid and the rest of the day’s float trip. No rewards for me this day, only a deeply felt satisfaction in my soul.          

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat: A new mindset http://tinyurl.com/ovy7yh9 Ditto what this blogger wrote.

Art and Words

 

I wish I hadn't made some of the coral so dark.

I wish I hadn’t made some of the coral so dark.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.” – Scott Adams

 Life Lessons

One of the most freeing pieces of advice I ever received was the one given to me by a Weber State University art professor.

Quick sketch of a barn

Quick sketch of a barn

“Give yourself permission to paint a bad picture,” he said, then gave us the assignment to do just that.

I absolutely hated the “bad” painting I did for the assignment. But when the professor posted all of the students’ “bad paintings” on the wall, he pointed out what he liked in each of them.  I was dumbfounded at what he liked in mine, but in reconsidering I did see a few elements of saving grace in my ugly picture.

While I never did come to like that painting, I did learn from the exercise. From that time foreword, I’ve given myself permission to paint a bad picture every time I have a blank piece of paper or canvas in front of me. It frees me enough that I can actually paint without having to worry about messing up. That’s good because I always do.

I can honestly say I’ve never painted a piece that I felt was perfect — and probably never will. It’s the same with my writing. I can always see ways, after a piece is published, where I could have made the words sing more vibrantly, or whisper more gracefully.

Perfection simply isn’t within me. But that’s OK. It’s the imperfections that make me who I am – and unique.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Leanne Cole Photography http://tinyurl.com/ohj4k9t Abbotsford Convent, a delightful blog for the armchair traveler.

 

Theodore Roosevelt Lake

“The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes, or dark lake with the treble.” – Wassily Kandinsky

We watched what looked like was going to be a dud of a sunset. Even when the sun slipped below the horizon, the sky barely glowed yellow. And then suddenly, as if someone finally remembered to turn on the painted gels, the sunset sky exceeded even our expectations. -- Photo by Pat Bean

We watched what looked like was going to be a dud of a sunset. Even when the sun slipped below the horizon, the sky barely glowed yellow. And then suddenly, as if someone finally remembered to turn on the painted gels, the sunset sky exceeded even our expectations. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “I’m an old-fashioned guy … I want to be an old man with a beer belly sitting on a porch, looking at a lake or something.” – Johnny Depp

Point of Interest

            I consider my trip last week – in which my friend Jean and I and our two loveable dogs, Pepper and Dusty, camped overnight beside Theodore Roosevelt Lake — as part of my current lifestyle as a non-wandering wanderer.

Roosevelt Lake Bridge is the longest two-lane, single span, steel arch bridge in North America.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Roosevelt Lake Bridge is the longest two-lane, single span, steel arch bridge in North America. — Photo by Pat Bean

I intend not to be one of those people I met during my travels who never saw the landscape marvels or points of interest in their own backyards.

And since Roosevelt Lake is only a leisurely three-hour, scenic drive from Tucson, I figured it close enough to at least be situated in the South 40 of my rented estate.

The western sky about 10 minutes before it burst into color.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

The western sky about 10 minutes before it burst into color. — Photo by Pat Bean

The lake, located north of Globe alongside Highway 188, was created when the Theodore Roosevelt Dam was erected on the Salt River in 1911.

With a length of 22 miles, a maximum width of two miles, and a maximum depth of almost 350 feet, the lake is Arizona’s largest. That is if you don’t count Lake Mead which sits partially in Nevada and Lake Powell which sits partially in Utah.

One of the best parts of spending the night at a campground is the opportunity to watch the sun go down, and then to sit around a campfire. Somehow tales are taller, and the world’s problems more solvable when you’re dodging smoke by continually moving your lawn chair a bit to the right or left.

Better yet, when the wind’s blowing the smoke away from you, as it was surprisingly doing for us this night as we sat around the fire with the dogs at our feet.

Sometimes life is just damn good.

Jean and I, and I suspect Pepper and Dusty, too, are already looking forward to our next campout. I hope it’s soon.

Bean Pat: A Mixed Bag http://tinyurl.com/padl2g3 When you find yourself in a hole.

 

Road Trip

     “Travel is like a giant blank canvas, and the painting on the canvas is only limited by one’s imagination.” — Ross Morley

Gypsy Lee at sunrise at Cholla Campground in the Tonto Basin about 35 miles north of Globe, Arizona.

Gypsy Lee at sunrise at Cholla Campground in the Tonto Basin, with Roosevelt Lake in the background, about 35 miles north of Globe, Arizona. — Photo by Pat Bean

Tonto Basin and Roosevelt Lake

            “Let’s take Gypsy Lee, Dusty and Pepper and go to Eisenhower Lake,” said my friend Jean, whose dog, Dusty, I pet sit during the week while she’s at work. Gypsy Lee is the small RV I lived in for almost nine years while traveling this country full-time, and Pepper, of course, is my own spoiled dog.

My three traveling companions. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My three traveling companions. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Where’s Eisenhower Lake?” I asked between sips of Jack and Coke during a Friday happy hour, when we were sitting out on my bedroom balcony watching the sun go down.

“You know. Up by Globe (Arizona).”

“In the Tonto Basin?”

“Is that by Globe?” She asked.

“Yes. And I’ve been there. It’s a beautiful area and lake. Let me show you the photos I took of the area some years back.” And I did, and she responded with just the right amount of oohs and aahs.

Those of you who are familiar with the Tonto Basin area are probably by now exclaiming: “What in the Sam Hill are those two old broads talking about? There’s no Eisenhower Lake in Arizona.” While others might be thinking: “Are they stupid? The only Eisenhower Lake I know about is in Rhode Island.”

Of course we soon discovered that the lake near Globe is named Roosevelt. We just got our presidents mixed up.  But just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, so Roosevelt Lake would be just as awesome.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Choosing gratitude and joy.  http://tinyurl.com/k68qur5  Good advice for all those who find themselves stuck on the road. There are a lot worse situations in life in which you can find yourself.

Monday Art

            “I do not know which to prefer. The beauty of inflections. Or the beauty of innuendoes. The Blackbird whistling. Or just after.” – Wallace Stevens

Monday art by Pat Bean

Monday art by Pat Bean

And a Few Birdy Quotes

            “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” – Maya  Angelou

            “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” – Henry Van Dyke

     “Birds are indicators of the environment. If they are in trouble, we know we’ll soon be in trouble.” Roger Tory Peterson

            “When birds burp, it must taste like bugs.” – Bill Watterson

            “Yes sir, I am a tortured man for all seasons, as they say, and I have powerful friends in high places. Birds sing where I walk, and children smile when they see me coming.” Hunter S. Thompson

            “Did St. Francis preach to the birds? Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats.” Rebecca West      

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: The Day After http://tinyurl.com/ltfx4wl What is a friend?

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